Lincoln Memorial University

LMU-DCOM Launches Certificate in Medical Humanities

Harrogate, Tennessee, August 27, 2019 Osteopathic medical students at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) can now earn a Certificate in Medical Humanities beginning fall 2019. The certificate program is an elective offering that upon completion will be added to the Medical Student Performance Evaluation.


“This certificate serves as another opportunity to further our mission to prepare outstanding osteopathic physicians who are committed to the premise that the cornerstone of meaningful existence is service to humanity,” said Brian A. Kessler, D.O., vice president and dean of LMU-DCOM.


student doctorMedical Humanities brings the methods and concerns of humanities disciplines to bear on the study of health and health care. Humanities provides the opportunity to approach medical issues—such as illness, treatment, disability, death, and health policy—from historical, philosophical, literary, and cultural perspectives. It also aims to nurture the skills of analysis, empathy, and self-reflection.


The program will be administered by Rick Slaven, MPS, NRP, CCP, coordinator of student advancement at LMU-DCOM and Sandra Weems, PhD, assistant professor of English at LMU.  Weems has a PhD in Medical Humanities and specializes in the field of health humanities, particularly narrative medicine and reflective writing, about which she has published online articles and book reviews.


“Empathy and compassion play vital roles in health care. It has been suggested that exposing students to the study of medical humanities may improve empathy as an educational outcome,” said Slaven. “By integrating humanities into the curriculum, students will be better equipped to interact with patients from a holistic prospective rather than just seeing them as a victim of injury or illness.”


Students will be required to attend a total of eight seminars, colloquia, or events related to medical humanities throughout the two years. Students in the program may be asked to read a book, watch a documentary, or participate in a service project and write reflections on their experiences. A minimum of two of the events they attend must be service related. At the end of their second year of medical school, students in the program will have to complete a capstone writing project.


The learning goals for the certificate are to help students understand how different perspectives inform what constitutes health and disease, reflect on challenging ethical and social issues in health, health care, health policy and research, and examine meanings of health, disease, illness, and disability among patients, families, health care providers, and communities.



The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7082, email [email protected], or visit us online at


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752